Motherhood Redefined

Today, I am blessed to have my sweet friend Abby guest post for us. I've ask her to share with us out of her experience with war-torn nations. My hope is that our world view will be expanded and we will act in compassion for those living in these conditions. This being the month of celebrating mothers, Abby will be sharing from the point of view of a mother in one of the countries she has worked with recently. Keep in mind, there are various types of suffering, and poverty is not the only cause, but in some developed countries, like Iraq, violence is the reason for hardship.

AbbyAbby Davidson is an Idaho native, economics grad student, and wife/partner to the founder of ForgottenSong, a non-profit organization working to sustainably improve the lives of women and children in war-torn countries. She thrives on experiencing new cultures, loves adventure, and has a passion for seeing hope and love restored to people all over the world. Learn more HERE.



Motherhood Redefined - ForgottenSong

It’s a quiet, peaceful evening here in Duhok, Iraq. Almost one million people live here, and yet surrounded by treeless mountains and without another town in sight, it doesn’t feel that large. The sun is just setting, and families are beginning to gather in the park nestled in the center of town. Mothers and fathers walk and play with their young children, giving into pleas for candy and soda. I smile to myself, remembering when my children were young and when I was a new mother with my whole life ahead of me. I had so many dreams and desires, but none as great as having children. My experience was not what I had anticipated however.  Memories begin to flash back in my mind, as they always do, and I am reminded of what motherhood truly is, or at least what it has become to me.

Four years ago, when we were still living in Baghdad, violence was common and affected many on a weekly basis. It was just after my daughter’s fifteenth birthday, and I sent her off to school like any normal weekday.  During her third class, a man walked into the room, pulled out a gun, and shot her classmate in the head.  My daughter was only several meters away and saw her friend’s life stolen from her almost instantaneously.  We were later told he was part of a terrorist group that targeted girls wearing heavy makeup in order to make a statement to society.  Sometimes I still cannot believe it when I say it.

My daughter changed that day. The innocence in her eyes was lost, and the hope in her laughter was reduced to a confused depression. The guarantee of happiness was ripped away as she witnessed a tragedy that shook her foundations and her naivety to its core. It was at that time that we decided to leave our home and come here, to join the thousands of other refugees that have fled Baghdad to seek some sense of normalcy in the north. My daughter never did go back to school. As hard as we tried to persuade her to return, she couldn’t do it. She acts strong, but I can see it in her eyes, she is afraid, confused, and broken. 

I hear that children in other countries are too poor to go to school. That is not the plight of myself and other mothers here in Iraq. Money cannot solve our problems. There is no understanding these attacks, no way to avoid them. As a mother, I am supposed to be the keeper of my children, yet my love and care has not been enough to keep them safe. Mothers feel an urgency to protect and comfort their children, and when life makes this impossible, the pain is unbearable. Yet we press on. We hope for peace, which we work for consistently here in our new home. We strive for happiness, and find it in even the smallest of things. Motherhood has been redefined to me. It is no longer about protecting my children from harm, but rather my purpose now is to consistently release them into the hands of God and remind myself that every day is a gift. Sometimes certain gifts, like motherhood, can only come with pain as well.

As I continue to watch groups stroll through the park, I wonder how many of those young smiling faces are hiding fear and pain. And I think about the mothers and wonder how many have had their hearts broken like mine. But at this moment, it seems peaceful here. We pretend as though our hearts are whole, and we enjoy this moment together.  The plight of mothers in countries like mine isn’t shouted from the rooftops. It’s hidden in our hearts, and although the rest of the world may not understand, motherhood will forever be redefined for every one of us.


You can celebrate and support mothers who are living in poverty, through ongoing support of a Child Survival Program or by making a one time donation to Compassion International.

As Abby addressed, simply money cannot solve some of these mothers' problems. Partnering with organizations like ForgottenSong can help by sustainably improving the lives of women and children in war-torn countries. Currently, ForgottenSong is in Iraq and Uganda. Learn more HERE.


Events coming up that you might be interested:

  • Tri for Febby: Upon completion of the Fundraising, ForgottenSong will fully fund a trip for you to travel to East Africa to visit the Chicken Farm that YOU have funded!
  • Go Out for a Change: Local businesses are helping us in our efforts to change the lives of widows and orphans in war-torn countries across the world by donating a percentage of profits for the day.
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Compassate Giving this Season

Last year around this time, God had begun a crazy work in the life of my family. My husband had always loved Jesus and oozed Him in all aspects of his life. But about a year and a half ago, God caught Matt on fire in a new way I never saw coming.

compassionate giving this season

The hubs and I are neither one big readers {one of our many like interest, hehe}. All of a sudden Matt got this crazy craving for learning. He's a stank'n genius, so very few things challenge or fulfill him intellectually. But that year...he couldn't get enough. Our conversations changed. The simple what happened with the kids today, what youth even is coming up we need to plan, how is a fun new way we can teach our student ____ now became in depth theology, working out our long held to traditions {and we thought we were 'contemporary'}, and wows about how far our American churches have drifted away from the Center. Christ.

One of the many books he read during this time was Radical, by David Platt. Lots of you have probably heard of it; if you haven't I'm sure we can dig up some "orange crack" around our house somewhere to pass on! I have to be honest, I haven't personally read word for word any of these books Matt went through, but having been 'discipled' like a 3rd world nation without Bibles, I think I have the core of all of them.

Radical, coming from a pastor of a mega church who seemed to be scaring crowds away with his relentless telling of the true gospel, we were taken back. What's with this dude? Isn't church about 'gaining numbers'? Shouldn't he be building the kingdom? Heck to the NO. This dude is taking his cues from Jesus! Jesus ask people to eat him and hate ya mamma. That was totally driving crowds away. Those following Him around weren't from his dashing good looks, story telling ability, or His immaculate menus. Nope, they were following Jesus because He provided an everlasting hope. He fulfilled a promise centuries in the making.

Through our radical life styles change as a result of what God began in my husband's life, we chose to do Christmas a little different last year. Our family "Gave Christmas Away". We defiantly baffled our christian families when we digressed from our normal traditions. Now, we never did the giant ripe-n-tare in either of our families so our choice to "give Christmas away" was confusing. Do they think we ever went 'over board' with gifts for one another? Is gift giving wrong? What does this even mean?

Last year we choose not to give our families gifts. Rather, we picked LOTS of ways to 'give our Christmas away." All money we had budgeted for Christmas gifts went to ministries to spread the gospel. The following list are some of those:

  • Operation Christmas Child Boxes
  • Angel Tree Children
  • Families our Church knew where in need
  • Lots of homemade fun for neighbors
    {we prolly enjoy this more than they do, hehe}
  • Random opportunities that came up
  • Harvest International
  • Gospel for Asia
  • Samaritans Purse
  • World Vision

The last four of those we gave to in two different purposeful way.

  1. Choose gifts according to something meaningful to each person in our family and then made a homemade gift for that family member that let them know what we gave for them. i.e. My father-in-law loves fishing so we gave fishing nets {through Gospel for Asia} to help families have the means to feeding as well as to have a new job to provide for their family.
  2. We gave "birthday presents to Jesus" at His birthday party. My husband made up pictures of animals and how much they cost. Then each child was given a 'budget' to buy whatever they wanted. FUN!

We had so much fun with working through the process of rethinking gifts! This year, we are giving our children gifts but are definitely still contributing to gospel oozing ministries as well as limiting gift giving among ourselves. Again, I wanna say, we do not think there is anything wrong with giving gifts among family! We just want to make sure we aren't turning the birth of our promised "God with us". We want EVERYTHING in our lives to spread the good news of our loving God.

We let our kids help choose OCC box items as well as gifts for needy children we are helping this year. But this year was the first year we allowed our children {oldest 4.5} to help pick out gifts for us. Matt and I took the kids shopping without each other. Through this process we wanted to begin ingraining in them what it means to be selfless, thoughtful, sacrificing, all the while learning the joy of creativity, surprises, and giving in secret. This will also be done through giving more gifts to Jesus on his birthday.

I'd love to give you and your family just one fun opportunity to compassionately give this year.

A Note About Gifts {from compassion bloggers}

You get it. Christmas isn't about the gifts or the toys. It's about celebrating the birth of the greatest gift, and really, the only gift we will ever need, Jesus coming to earth. To save us from an eternity apart from God.For Jesus, "It's About Giving" was about giving everything.

Brianne, from compassion international, has visited a few of the countries where Compassion works and has talked to the children about Christmas, and what they do. For many of them, it is just another day. Another day to wonder if they will eat. Another day to walk for miles for water. Another day to get up early and go to the market with their mom or dad to try to bring in some money. Giving through the Christmas Gift Catalog provides an opportunity for the churches we partner with in South America, Asia, Central America and the Caribbean, and Africa to personally hand these gifts to a child in poverty, to meet their need, and to tell them Jesus loves them.

We have a goal of gifting $20,000 through compassion bloggers could shift the focus for so many children this year. As just one of the ~2000 compassion bloggers, my goal is to raise $100 for the gift catalog through this final post.

Here is the support in raising this gift that I'm asking of my readers:

  • I would love just 10 of you to give $10
  • About five to give $20
  • And if just two to give $50 then we've met our 'as Jules is going" community goal




Any amount will be helpful. Greater or small than the suggestions above. You can leave a comment encouraging others to participate if you like!

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What Does it Look Like to Give Biblically in Today’s Culture?

I think we often through around the term "biblical" too flippantly.

16All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

-Tim 3:16-17

We attempt to tag "biblical" to every aspect of our lives. But the bible is not Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. It's not a manual for how to work your life.

God gave it to us for teaching. Teaching about our history. Who made us. Our lineage. The past. He gave it to us for rebuking. To know how he wants us to live. Not step by step directions for getting a perfect life as the outcome but to hear Him speak to others. Know His standards. Understand our place as sinners saved and redeemed by grace. Forgiven and not left in our heap. God gave it to us to know how we are to be corrected and trained in HIS ways of righteousness so we can be prepared to do good- His will. We are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good without it {Titus 1:16}.

We are to line our lives up next to the teaching, rebuking, correction, and training from God, not necessarily an exact "What would Jesus do" scenario. The truth is, the life of Jesus would have look significantly different if lived in this generation. Not because the principles of the bible or character of God changed but the culture did. His people did. God is relevant yet never changing. Reliable and not out of touch!

You would have never seen Jesus offering to give a ride to a homeless individual who needed to get to a job interview. There were no cars...not really such a thing as an interview. Therefor, dissecting God's word, His work, Jesus' life and applying that is the way to live righteously not Biblically.

#itsaboutgiving duet 16 17

So, what Does it Look Like to Give Biblically in Today's Culture? Dissect giving in the bible. Let's talk this out. I don't have this figured out but definitely want to practice using the bible for what it's useful for: thoroughly me {us} for every good work. Here are some questions I'd love to dialog about int he comment section or over on the Facebook community page.

  • What did giving look like when you were a kid?
  • What did giving look like before the Internet and PayPal?
  • How does giving look today with the resources we have available to us?
    Resources that hundred thousands of people around the world do not have access to.

Don't forget. I don't blog for myself or even you alone. I blog for Compassion. Help be apart of THIS good work. Compassion has a goal of $20,000 by December 31st 2012. If ONLY YOU, my twitter & FB friends give ~$14, their goal met! Give more or less. Just think about what the Lord has blessed you with. You're more than abundantly blessed aren't you? How will you give give extravagantly as you are able according to those extravagant blessings from HIM?

Who's In!?


Tweet about what biblical giving looks like to you in today's culture; use #itsaboutgiving and join the community.



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What Does Giving Mean to You?

Giving tastes sweet! It’s filling and nourishes.

Giving sounds like children’s laughter. Adults singing in harmony. Friends sharing conversation filled with honest & life.

Giving feelings are comfort. Contentment. Joy. Generosity. Gratefulness. Like a blanket straight out of the drier. A beautiful fall walk with crisp air and the warm sun on your face. Like your heart can’t take-in anymore and is about to explode.

Giving colors are rich, natural, and eye catching. Beautiful white lights on a giant fluffy ever-green among the rest of the forest.

Giving associations are community working together to glorify Christ; children enjoying finding the perfect something to bring a smile to someone other than themselves; family sacrificing wants to meet needs; Christ living through us.


Last week I offered up these questions to our Facebook & Twitter communities and here are a few things you contributed:

What was a gift you gave that was received with joy and deep appreciation.
What effect did that have on you?

A handmade quilt. I loved the time I spend praying for the receiver and the look on her face when she received it. I love giving time and love.... -Linda

And "adoption" certificate to a sweet friend who aged out of the foster system. Made me wish I could do more every single day -Billie

I made my boyfriend a booklet of "52 reasons why I love you" with a deck of cards. He looks through it periodically, and it never fails to make him cry. He says it's his favorite gift to date. And I have to say, it's brought me just as much joy to see him cherish it. -Sydney

I know it doesn't really fit but... The gift of sharing the Gospel with others. When someone accepts Jesus for the first time and you didn't give the gift (our Heavenly Father did), but you helped deliver it, the look of JOY on the face of a new believer....AMAZING! -Courtney

Why do you give?
What is the root behind the desire to give?

I love to see others reaction...especially when it is something they wanted or like. The root behind giving is love -Alison

I love to see the persons face when I give them a gift. Especially if it is something they really wanted or needed it. -Ashley

What have you learned from the Bible about giving?

better to give then to receive.lay up your treasures in heaven -Candace


#ItsAboutGiving is about painting a complete picture of giving using all our senses, but it's also about raising $20,000 for children in poverty this Christmas season. Go HERE to be apart of this awesome ministry!


Tell us in the comments what tastes, sounds, feelings, colors and associations YOU have with giving?

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